If you’re wondering why open betas tests have become such an important part of blockbuster video game development, you just need to look at how many people are willing to join them.
Developer Gearbox revealed today that its upcoming competitive shooter Battleborn’s open beta earlier this month drew 2 million players. Battleborn officially comes out May 3 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It hopes to attract the same kind of fans that have turned hits like League of Legends (which has 67 million players every month) into some of the most profitable games in recent history. The growth in competitive gaming is part of the esports movement, a market that could generate $463 million this year. And Battleborn publisher 2K, which doesn’t have any big esports game yet, wants a piece of that.
Betas are supposed to help developers look for problems with a game before it ships, but publishers also use them as glorified demos and marketing opportunities. They allows players to try a game for free and (hopefully) spread excitement about the product. The fact that publishers so often brag about how many people participate in open betas is proof of this marketing effort.
Battleborn is a first-person shooter, but it still has multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA elements). Players need to take a large robot in the enemy team’s base to win while fighting computer-controller minions and leveling up their characters. Unlike most traditional MOBAs, which are free-to-play, Battleborn is a $60 game.
You can learn more facts about the open beta from the infographic below.